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Migraines and hormones Migraines and hormones

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Unread 06-15-2001, 11:47 AM
Migraines and hormones

I'm not really sure where to post this, so I figured I would try it here. Anyone here taking HRT and suffer from Migraines?

Here's my story in a nutshell: 7 years ago (when I was 31) as a result of really awful periods, my doc put me on the BCP. I had been on it before without a problem, but this time it was really bad. I was on the BCP for a month and a half and had three major migraines in a row. Then, I started to experience numbness along my right side that got progressively worse. I ended up being rushed to the hospital because I found myself not being able to swallow properly and drooling out the corner out of my mouth. (scared the living daylights out of me) Several hour later the symptoms subsided and I was sent home. The ER doc said I suffered a "Migraine Syndrome" but the neurologist said that I suffered a TIA so severe that he would not rule out a small stroke. I was told in no uncertain terms not to go on hormones of any kind and not to get pregnant. My family doc put it like this: "better to be a healthy mom of two than a hemiplegic mom of three."

Now, fast forward to the present. For the past couple of years my migraines have been increasing in severity and frequency. I'm now at the point where I get on average 8 migraines a month, I would say 80% of them clustered around my period. (the rest are due to barometric pressure) All the heavy-duty drugs my present doc has prescribed have stopped working. I know that my migraines are due to hormonal swings. All morning I've had a migraine so bad that it felt like my brains were going to leak out my ears! I took my regular migraine med (Amerge) and it didn't work. So an hour ago I took two Tylenol 1's and although the pain is still there, I can handle it now.

I'm scheduled for an LAVH on July 20th. My gyne wants to keep my ovaries because of my age but I'm wondering how wise that really is. (I have endo, among other things) In my research I've discovered that many women with severe migraines like me do very well on the cream HRT because it delivers a sustained dose...unlike the pills which gives a huge amount initially.

Is anyone here on HRT and suffer sever migraines like me? How are you doing on the HRT? What are you taking?

I appreciate any information you can give me. I'm seeing my gyne on Tuesday and my fam doc on Thursday. I'd like to see them with a little bit of extra ammo.....errr....info.

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Unread 06-15-2001, 12:28 PM
Migraines and hormones

I didn't suffer from migraines pre-hyst, but am having problems with them post-hyst. I have heard the same thing you did, that some women who have had problems pre don't have them post. But there is no way to tell if this will happen for you or not. In the jungle we are all different.

My neurologist told me that I was probably pre-disposed to headaches and the surgery may have triggered them. However, I still believe my headaches are hormone related.

I use tri-est and progesterone cream and am doing some tinkering. I've split up my doses to do 3x per day. It's only been a few days, but I think it is helping. I really like the creams for hrt for this very reason. It is so easy to split up your dose and do some tinkering when things aren't going quite right.

For more information on hormones go to www.hormonejungle.com and read all the pull down menus.

Good luck on your upcoming surgery.
Unread 06-16-2001, 10:19 AM
Migraines and ovaries

I suffered from migraines pre-hyst, as well as chronic tension headaches (not as severe as yours, but still debilitating at times).
Anyway, my gyn talked me into taking the remaining ovary because he thought it would level out hormones, help with migraines and keep me from further surgeries (I'd already had 2 for very large, painful ovarian cysts).
To this day, I'm not sure if I did the right thing (I know that doesn't help a lot!) I do know that my migraines were much worse when I was using oral Estrace as opposed to Vivelle patch that I'm using now. For some, the hormone jungle is a walk in the park - for me, it's sometimes an African safari!
I had my hyst for adenomyosis, so that's a different situation than endo, too. I was 34 when I had the hyst. and the doctor initially wanted to keep my ovary, too, until we really talked about the problems I was having. As it turned out, my remaining ovary was riddled with cysts when he took it out and I would have faced more surgery, more than likely.
I do know that overall, with the Vivelle patch and compounded progesterone (occasionally) and testosterone, my headaches and migraines are much better than they were before surgery. It is a hard decision to make, so you are smart to find out as much as you can. Remember, too, that ultimately you have to live in your body - not the doctor, so it should be your decision!!! Best of luck and I really hope you can get some relief - migraines are miserable.
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Unread 06-16-2001, 01:27 PM
Migraines and hormones

Migraines seem to be one of those thick vines in the jungle that can be hard to deal with. What I have learned about migraines is they are most likely hormonally related. Some women experience migraines right before their periods. These migraines can be caused by either too little progesterone hormone or the estrogen dropping too fast. Then some women have migraines when they take synthetic estrogens (such as BCP) or when they take unopposed estrogen.

Since endo is probably caused by estrogen excess, I wonder if your migraines are caused by estrogen. You may want to at least try progesterone before your surgery to see if it helps.
Unread 06-16-2001, 11:45 PM
Migraines and hormones

Maybe I can help you...
I had my first severe migraines when I was 12, and I've had them on and off all these years. Hindsight being what it is, I can see now how they were hormonally related... Anyway, I was having pretty bad migraines after my second child in 1997, and that plus severe endo (also since around age 11-12) led to me taking tons of pain relievers, which led to something called analgesic rebound headaches (in addition to migraines and tension headaches, the neurol. said - GREAT!) I had the hysterectomy and I ended up trying a lot of stuff... Depakote works for a LOT of people, but it put weight on me and had other bad effects for me - it doesn't on everyone, and it definitely took away my headaches... Back in Oct. of last year I was having migraines every single day. I, too, had my 1st hemiplegic event, driving with my 3 kids in the car, my left arm fell off the wheel - I managed to get to a police station down the street where I looked to everyone like I was having a stroke - it was horrible; I was 33: I had to give my kids to a relative stranger. I began to wonder if life was worth living.

Finally in late December I found a good neurologist who said I needed to up the Topamax and add a second migraine-preventative - Atenolol (I'd tried beta blockers without success before), and within a month, the feeling that my head was a tire about to burst just vanished. It was unbelievable. I still had daily headaches, though - I still kept the house pretty dark! Then months later I found this site and I saw that I could have my hormone levels checked (had never heard of that); I did that, started sleeping, and finally was completely headache free for weeks. Its scary to even say, because its been YEARS, I realize, since my head hasn't hurt.

I can tell you that as soon as I went the Natural HRT route after being switched all over the place on the other HRTs, I was so much better. Cutting my progesterone in half helped me, but that's just me from what I read here. I found my doc through my compounding pharmacy.
I wish you all of the best. I hope you've found a really good neurologist. Sorry to ramble so long...
Unread 06-17-2001, 11:55 AM
Rambling even more the next day...

I had a migraine today. I had them before my total - there is nothing left - hysterectomy, I had them after. I guess that at least before, I always had control over both sides of my body, and didn't lose such a big part of my vision. I never had cluster headaches before either, yikes... You said you have endo, so did I. And my great news is that they think it is back, even after having everything taken out. I would strongly suggest having your hormone levels tested; how I wish I had had that done before I had my hyst. With what has happened to me and what I have read here, it's hard to imagine having a hysterectomy to get rid of headaches. I know that everyone is different, though, and I wish you the best!

Am I just a bucket of sunshine right now or what? SORRY!

Also, I haven't been on Amerge, but I'm concerned that if you've had this hemiplegic event, you shouldn't be on a vasoconstrictor (I think I'm saying that right ) I've been told by 3 neurologists to absolutely never take them, things like Imitrex, midrin, DHE, etc., because they can lead to a stroke after these events. Some fun we've had! But its better to be informed and stay or get healthy, right? Again, good luck, and I'll try to be quiet now... I was just worried about you! And whining, of course! (so sorry!)
Unread 06-17-2001, 01:06 PM
Migraines and hormones


Before I had my hyst in July of 2000 I had sever migraines before my periods for several years. At times no matter what I took for them nothing helped. I never really put the two together. The last few years my periods were very light, I just thought that I was starting to go into menopause. I ended up in ER on July 2nd of 2000 with what I thought was a bladder infection. I did not even know I had Endo till after a few test were done and they told me on July 3rd (my birthday) that I had to have a TAH BSO that afternoon.

I stayed off HRT for 9 months to be sure all ENDO was gone. After the hyst for about 2 months I had somes and night sweats. Then I started to have brain Then the second week in April I started Estrace 1 mg. Then the third week in May I asked my gyn for Progesterone(Prometrium), I wanted to make sure that if there was any Endo left it would not get a chance to grow. I was told by the dr that did my hyst (not my gyn) that all the Endo was gotten, but from what I have been reading one can never be 100% sure. Now I only get light headaches and my face feels like a little hot flash not all the time about once a week. I am under some stress right now. I do not know if that is the reason or my Estrace my need to be increased. Both of these hormones are bio-identical(like what are body produced before hyst).

For me as of now the migraines have stopped.

Are your overise in good conditation? Is there any chance that Endo may be on your overies. I would talk to your dr again before your hystr and tell him about your doubts. This way he can clear up any doubts you may have.

I am sending you lost of s and keeping you in my prayers.

Unread 06-18-2001, 01:34 PM
Thank you all for your replies!

Thank you Kim for the site. I did a fair amount of poking around in there. Answered some of my questions

Tamara, I read once that oral HRT usually makes migraines worse in women predisposed to it. I also heard that with the patch, you can only take for X-# of years then you have to stop. Do you know if that's true?

You know Lauren, that's exactly what I was thinking. My migrains are usually when I have my ( . ) and around the time I'm ovulating. I keep wondering if it isn't due to the hormonal changes rather than just the hormone itself.

Cass, you sound like me! Only I started my migraines when I was a preschooler...around 3 or 4. I'll have to look up all the meds you mentioned. I'm seeing my doctor tomorrow for my pre-op visit, I'm going to ask him about getting my hormones looked at. My family doctor recommended Amerge. He knows my history. I'm seeing him on Thursday, so I'll ask him again.

Patty, can you explain to me exactly what bio-identical hormones are and how are they different from any others?

Ladies, right now my biggest concern/question is whether or not I should have a BSO or not. If my migraines are triggered by hormonal fluctuations, then being on HRT might be a good idea. I also suffer from terrible PMS. I have 4 weeks and 4 days left before my LAVH. I think I'm going to ask my gyne for a neuro consult.

Thanks again!
Unread 06-19-2001, 04:08 PM

I saw my gyne today. He's going to send me to a neuro for an evaluation. Based on his eval, I will decide whether or not to have a BSO.

My doc has also decided that it would be a good idea to do a TAH instead of an LAVH.
Unread 06-20-2001, 08:41 AM
Migraines and hormones

I too had migraines before my TAH and has one since. My dr prescribe maxalt mlt He said it was knew and pertained to woman who have the headache due to hormone and for me it helped. And I have had them since I was 12. I hope this may help you. Good Luck

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